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Brussels, 18 January 2011
Antitrust: Commission confirms unannounced inspections in the truck sector
The European Commission can confirm that on 18 January 2011 Commission officials started to undertake unannounced inspections at the premises of companies active in the truck industry in several Member States. The Commission has reason to believe that the companies concerned may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices and/or the abuse of a dominant market position (Articles 101 and 102 respectively of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU).
The Commission officials were accompanied by their counterparts from the relevant national competition authorities.
Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step into suspected anticompetitive practices. The fact that the Commission carries out such inspections does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself. The Commission respects the rights of defence, in particular the right of companies to be heard in antitrust proceedings.
There is no legal deadline to complete inquiries into anticompetitive conduct. Their duration depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of each case, the extent to which the companies concerned co-operate with the Commission and the exercise of the rights of defence.